Bird Flu case confirmed in wild Walla Walla county bird

WALLA WALLA, Wash. — A red-tailed hawk from the McNary National Wildlife Refuge has officially been confirmed with a case of avian influenza, according to officials on Wednesday.

The Walla Walla County Department of Community Health says the wild bird was confirmed with the highly infectious H5N1 strain that’s currently circulating. There is no known cure, and the disease is almost always fatal to birds.

Avian influenza has been being reported across the state for months. Recently, officials have been recommending that domestic flocks stay sheltered in coops, and away from wild flocks, which seem to be spreading the virus.

RELATED: Don’t touch the birds: 2 goslings with possible bird flu in Columbia Park

Back in May, several goslings came down with bird flu at Columbia Park in Tri-Cities. While the transmission risk of avian influenza from birds to humans is low, people taking sick or dying birds to the vet for medical attention rarely helps. In fact, it can just spread the disease to new areas.

Officials want to remind the public to limit unnecessary exposure to wild birds and bird owners, to help limit the spread of the virus to new flocks.